Clifton and Wayne County Seek Community Input on Recreational Planning

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   The City of Clifton and Wayne County are asking citizens to determine the future of recreation in the city and county. Both the entities have recently received state grants to plan for future improvements of existing parks and study the feasibility of creating new recreational opportunities.

   Clifton has received a grant from the TN Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to develop a10-year parks and recreation master plan. Wayne County also received funding from the TN Department of Health for a feasibility study to determine the possibility of creating an indoor community/recreation center in downtown Waynesboro and a greenway or trail along Hurricane Creek and Green River. Both the City and County completed the separate grant applications last year and successfully competed against other local governments across the state for funding. 

   Since the grant awards, both the City and County have hired consulting teams of planning and design firms to assist staff with undertaking the planning process and feasibility studies. Both planning projects are expected to take at least six months to complete. While each planning process has received different funding sources from different departments within the state, both grants will be used to determine what the future of recreation could be in the next several years for the citizens of Clifton and Wayne County.

   “The goal of Clifton’s planning process,” says City Manager Doug Kibbey, “is to develop a 10-year Parks and Recreation Plan for the city that will guide us in making improvements to our existing parks and recreation facilities and programs to determine what new facilities and programs are possible. Our consultants and designers will be conducting site visits and evaluations of all our parks and playing fields over the next several weeks and provide suggestions and cost estimates to the city on how those facilities can be improved.” Kibbey added, “Once we have those suggestions, we will conduct meetings with the public to review them, plus discuss what new facilities the public would like to see available in the future.”

   Rena Purdy, Executive Director of the Wayne County Joint Economic and Community Development Board, is administering the TN Department of Health Grant. “Our planning project,” says Purdy, “is focused on the feasibility of two potential future projects. The first is to investigate the potential of converting a county-owned building in downtown Waynesboro into a community/recreation center. The concept of an indoor center centrally located in the County has been discussed at community meetings and among civic groups for quite some time,” says Purdy. Last year, County Executive Mangubat was informed that Lincoln Brass, a manufacturer occupying a 51,000 sq foot building in Waynesboro, would be relocating in 2021. The building is located near the Wayne Medical Center and adjacent to the Waynesboro City Park. “It’s always disappointing to have jobs leave the county,” said Purdy, “but because of the size and location of the county-owned building, the County took the opportunity to pursue grants to see if the building could be retrofitted into an indoor community/recreation center.” The study will look at development of a trailway linking the proposed recreational center and Waynesboro City Park, extend through town to Green River, and in the future, along the river to the schools, golf course and Sportsplex. Purdy added, “We don’t know if these proposed ideas will all be accomplished or not at this point, but after this feasibility study is complete, we will have a much better idea of the costs, timeframes, and how the project could be implemented.”

   Both Clifton and the County held kick-off meetings last month with local officials, staff, civic groups, other interested citizens, and the consultants. Project goals, schedules, and the planning process were discussed at both meetings. However, both Kibbey and Purdy emphasized that the most important topic during the discussions was the effort needed for both projects, with public input at future public meetings and thorough responses to community-wide surveys. Most of the time spent during the kick-off meetings was giving the consultants information on a community-wide study for Clifton and County residents. “It is essential that both Clifton and Wayne County receive feedback from the public concerning these planning projects so that both the city and county can be eligible for more grants in the future,” said Purdy. Kibbey agreed, “Once the plans are complete, the city and county will be eligible to compete for funding to construct the improvements. Grants are very competitive, and we need public input to demonstrate public support. Parks and Recreation have always been an important mission for the City of Clifton, and we hope our citizens will get involved and complete the surveys.”

   The City of Clifton’s 10 Year Parks and Recreation Plan survey is available online at the city’s website, www.cityofclifton.com, plus paper surveys are available at the front desk of City Hall. Wayne County’s feasibility study survey form is also available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WayneCty. Paper surveys are available at the County Executive office in the courthouse. Both the City of Clifton and Wayne County are asking that the surveys be completed and returned by September 30th. Clifton City Manager Doug Kibbey can be reached for more information at 931-676-3370 or citymanager@cityofclifton.com; Rena Purdy can be reached at director@waynecountyecd.com.